Final Word from Monday, February 13, 2012

Can a Constitutional Court justice afford to express a personal,negative opinion on the Constitution, when it is his orher sworn duty to uphold that very Constitution? Chief JusticePavel Rychetský used Czech TV's OVM debate show yesterdayto sharply criticize the new constitutional amendment on directpresidential elections. (One of his deputies, Eliška Wagnerová,also criticized the amendment recently in Respekt, but shedid it before the law was passed.) When Rychetský appearedon OVM last May, he said that the role of the Court is to overseeParliament. "One can hardly expect the ConstitutionalCourt not to be a political body when its main, basic functionis to oversee a political body," he said. "This means setting thebounds and saying, 'You cannot go any further than this.'"Rychetský's performance yesterday is a conundrum. Could hepossibly be signalling that the Court might strike down theamendment as an excess of Parliament? Or is he merely testingthe bounds of how far a Constitutional Court justice can go?[Czech Republic Otázky Václav Moravce Televison]

Glossary of difficult words

to uphold - to support, defend; 

to oversee - to supervise, esp. in an official capacity; 

bounds/bound - a limitation or restriction on action or feeling; 

conundrum - a confusing and difficult problem or question; a riddle or puzzle; 

excess - the action of exceeding a permitted limit.

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